We don’t know when the virus that has so dramatically changed our lives will begin to recede, but when it does, New Mexicans will face a changed state.

It is not a matter of whether we’ll have a special session, but when. Under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico’s General Fund budget grew by more than 20 percent over the last two years from $6.3 billion to $7.6 billion. This rapid growth was recognized by many, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith and nearly all Republicans, as too much, too fast.

The collapse in oil prices alone would likely cause a special session. In mid-January, oil was in the mid-$60s per barrel. Now it is in the low $20s. With approximately 40 percent of New Mexico’s budget dependent on the oil and gas industry, the situation is serious. Of course the added economic disruptions caused by the virus only amplify the economic challenge.

Paul J. Gessing is the president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation, an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility.

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